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Massage offering on the Camino Ingles

SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#1
This post is a very personal post and let me stress that I write it only from my personal experiences.

Lately on the forum we hear some disturbing news about harrassment and not respecting personal physical boundaries.

Again what follows are my impressions and should not be seen as an attack or official complaint.

When in pension O Novo in Meson do Vento in April the younger owner immediately touched me between my shoulderblades when I came in and asked me if I was not stiff and said he gave massages.
I saw the table in the corridor...I declined in a firm way. I asked him if he had a physio degree and he said yes although I did not see any diploma or certificate.He did not insist but I did not feel well about it at all.
I was also the only pilgrim that night.

It might be a cultural thing. I know Spaniards touch each other more in a friendly manner without any double entendre but his touch did feel me uneasy.
Again nothing inappropiate happened but I can imagine that some ladies whom are offered this service might feel uneasy. The massage table was in the corridor so I do not know where the actual massage would be given.

So this is just a general warning to everyone to respect your own boundaries and trust your instincts. Or when someone offers you a massage it might be a good idea that this would happen when other people are around.

Also I really think that before someone touches you he or she should ask you if you are ok with that.So first asking and then acting not vice versa.
I hope this can help future pilgrims.
 

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VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2014, 2015)
St Olav/Francés (2016)
Baztanés/Francés (2017)
Ingles (July 2018)
#2
It may be a cultural difference, or maybe not.
But now people know to be careful - to be clear, and to set and maintain comfortable boundaries.

As women, if something feels off, it goes against a lot of conditioning not to worry about 'hurting feelings,' to say no and then to let others know what has happened, so that they may be safe.
As you did.
Thank you, Sabine, for having the courage to share your experience.
Now you can breathe more easily, knowing others are aware.

Edit - I will be doing the Ingles later this summer and would not hesitate to stay here. But I will know to be alert.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#3
A note from the Moderators:
Sabine is a very experienced pilgrim whose contributions to the forum have been very valuable over time.
Her post was vetted through the moderators before posting. She does not intend to make accusations against the albergue in question but wants to point out to solo women that care should be taken in any situation that feels uncomfortable...especially if you are alone.
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#4
Just to echo what grayland and others have said. I know that many of us don't "want to make a scene," "don't want to be rude," etc, but I hope that these posts will encourage women to follow their instincts in cases like this. And not worry about whether the man who started the whole thing will be offended or insulted. I've had people touch me on the shoulder without setting off my alarms, but I have also been in a situation very similar to Sabine's and it just didn't feel right to me. I was glad I got out quickly (this was not on the Camino), because I later heard that another female student had had a less happy ending with this same professor than I had.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#5
This post is a very personal post and let me stress that I write it only from my personal experiences.

Lately on the forum we hear some disturbing news about harrassment and not respecting personal physical boundaries.

Again what follows are my impressions and should not be seen as an attack or official complaint.

When in pension O Novo in Meson do Vento in April the younger owner immediately touched me between my shoulderblades when I came in and asked me if I was not stiff and said he gave massages.
I saw the table in the corridor...I declined in a firm way. I asked him if he had a physio degree and he said yes although I did not see any diploma or certificate.He did not insist but I did not feel well about it at all.
I was also the only pilgrim that night.

It might be a cultural thing. I know Spaniards touch each other more in a friendly manner without any double entendre but his touch did feel me uneasy.
Again nothing inappropiate happened but I can imagine that some ladies whom are offered this service might feel uneasy. The massage table was in the corridor so I do not know where the actual massage would be given.

So this is just a general warning to everyone to respect your own boundaries and trust your instincts. Or when someone offers you a massage it might be a good idea that this would happen when other people are around.

Also I really think that before someone touches you he or she should ask you if you are ok with that.So first asking and then acting not vice versa.
I hope this can help future pilgrims.
I too stayed at that same pension last year while on the Ingles. Like you, I received the offer of a massage but something felt "off" about the whole thing so declined.
 

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kirkie

Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#6
This post is a very personal post and let me stress that I write it only from my personal experiences.

Lately on the forum we hear some disturbing news about harrassment and not respecting personal physical boundaries.

Again what follows are my impressions and should not be seen as an attack or official complaint.

When in pension O Novo in Meson do Vento in April the younger owner immediately touched me between my shoulderblades when I came in and asked me if I was not stiff and said he gave massages.
I saw the table in the corridor...I declined in a firm way. I asked him if he had a physio degree and he said yes although I did not see any diploma or certificate.He did not insist but I did not feel well about it at all.
I was also the only pilgrim that night.

It might be a cultural thing. I know Spaniards touch each other more in a friendly manner without any double entendre but his touch did feel me uneasy.
Again nothing inappropiate happened but I can imagine that some ladies whom are offered this service might feel uneasy. The massage table was in the corridor so I do not know where the actual massage would be given.

So this is just a general warning to everyone to respect your own boundaries and trust your instincts. Or when someone offers you a massage it might be a good idea that this would happen when other people are around.

Also I really think that before someone touches you he or she should ask you if you are ok with that.So first asking and then acting not vice versa.
I hope this can help future pilgrims.
Sabine, you have done a great service to others, thank you.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#7
A good reminder to trust our gut feelings or intuition. I know I sometimes ignored those signals for two reasons. One is because of the earlier mention of 'hurting feelings', 'making a scene' or 'not wanting to be rude'. The second reason is that it is difficult to understand that you can somehow make a lightning fast situation assessment without conscious thought. But especially during travel I learned (very quickly!) never to doubt my gut feeling again, because it was always spot on. Don't doubt your intuition, whether you are male or female. It is there for a good reason: to keep you safe.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#9
I think it safe to state that I agree with what all the others have already said, and I support Sabine totally.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#10
I sympathise totally with those who feel uncomfortable and feel that their space is invaded, even if it is unintentional. The following is not meant in any way to negate those feelings or criticise and it is right to be aware of such situations.

From a personal experience I have never felt any threat/intrusion from being reached out to or touched by bar/cafe/hotel owners in Spain. In fact many have shaken hands and given us a hug/kiss on the cheek as we leave. That is where the difference lies - I was not alone and it was not on arrival. The contact was welcome with no sense of intrusion.
Just the other side of the picture as Northern Spain is still a place where many folk do touch and reach out to one another in a way that others now fear. Being aware of this is good, as well as trusting ones own feelings too at the time.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#11
I sympathise totally with those who feel uncomfortable and feel that their space is invaded, even if it is unintentional. The following is not meant in any way to negate those feelings or criticise and it is right to be aware of such situations.

From a personal experience I have never felt any threat/intrusion from being reached out to or touched by bar/cafe/hotel owners in Spain. In fact many have shaken hands and given us a hug/kiss on the cheek as we leave. That is where the difference lies - I was not alone and it was not on arrival. The contact was welcome with no sense of intrusion.
Just the other side of the picture as Northern Spain is still a place where many folk do touch and reach out to one another in a way that others now fear. Being aware of this is good, as well as trusting ones own feelings too at the time.
This is very true as I observe interaction at this moment in a local café in Alcazarén on the Camino de Madrid. You often touch one another while talking, whereas in other cultures this might be construed as too intimate. I know that I do the same with Spanish friends.

As a hospitalera, especially in Grañón, we were hugged and kissed by the Spanish in the morning when leaving. Northern Europeans would shake our hands. I was volunteering with 2 other Spanish women and a comment was made regarding this difference. It's cultural and it is important to respect the differences.

Of course what Sabine describes is different. Gut feelings or instinct rarely fails, at least that has been my experience.
 


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